Avoid This Mistake

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Drawing on retail experience, Borreggine says in video series that stores should merchandise in lines, not by items

One of the biggest mistakes that retailers make, a long-time bedding retailer says, is that they merchandise by items and not lines and collections. While it may be tempting to put a special mattress on the floor, don’t do it, he warns. 

Retail mattress floors should be like train tracks in which the various models each play a connective and supporting role, leading to higher-priced models as the tracks continue. But putting a stand-alone, low-priced item on the floor is like a break in the tracks — it stops the logical flow of the bedding line.

Gerry Borreggine, president and chief executive officer of Princeton, New Jersey-based licensing group Therapedic International, offers that retail perspective in Therapedic’s new retail-focused video series, “Inside Track.”

“I was a retailer for a long time and, actually, I still consider myself a retailer,” he says in one of the videos. The series lets him share insights he gained in decades of experience running 40 Winks, a mattress retail chain in the Northeast that once had almost two dozen locations until, like many mattress retailers over the years, it fell victim to intense competition. 

Nowadays, of course, Borreggine is on the manufacturer side of the business, but he says he continues to look at the mattress business through the eyes of the retailer. And that’s the perspective he shares in his Inside Track videos.

Retail mattress floors should be like train tracks in which the various models each play a connective and supporting role, leading to higher-priced models as the tracks continue.

Gerry Borreggine, president and chief executive officer, Therapedic International

Take his thoughts on the dangers of item selling, for example. Borreggine learned the hard way that putting an inviting $599 model on the floor, loaded with features and benefits, does not take business from the competition — it takes business from yourself.

“You want to merchandise lines and collections, not items,” he says. “Items are dead ends. You get stopped there and you can’t get off that item. That’s where you will make the sale.”

What retailers won’t be able to do, Borreggine continues, is to take their customers up and down the line of sleep sets until they find a bed that they are comfortable with and that meets their needs. Importantly, that means they won’t be able to look at higher-priced models that offer additional features and benefits for them — and that bring more sales dollars to the retailer, too.

In the series, Borreggine also talks about the importance of consistency in retail mattress advertising, which he calls “the secret weapon for success.” Too many retailers grow bored with their key messages and abandon them, he notes. But consistency amplifies a retailer’s message tenfold. “Be the same over and over again,” he advises.

He also has thoughts on how retailers can pass the smell test. Retail stores should look and smell clean, he observes. Aromatherapy, oil diffusers and candles are some of the tools that smart retailers will employ, and they change their scents with the seasons.

Try a “beachy” smell in the summer, Borreggine says, moving to a spicy aroma like pumpkin in the fall, pine or evergreen in the winter, and floral in the spring. He practices what he preaches, imbuing his Las Vegas showroom with fresh scents. “Gee, your showroom smells great,” retailers say when they visit, Borreggine says. And that’s a lesson they can take back to their stores, he adds.

Borreggine also talks about the importance of music in retail stores. “Dead silence is kind of spooky,” he says, but it’s easily avoided with a smart speaker that can be programmed to play various genres of music. Music, he says, “creates a positive, engaging atmosphere” in retail stores.

“Retail is detail” is a key guideline for retailers. Borreggine provides a wealth of important retail details in his “Inside Track” videos that can help retailers spruce up their stores, increase their rapport with customers, and boost their sales.